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Old 08-18-2012, 04:50 PM   #1
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Tow vehicle advice sought

I'm looking at buying a 2011 Ford F250 Lariat King Ranch 4X4 crew cab diesel. I know this is more than I need but it sure is comfortable. Any thoughts on pros and cons? I need to convince my wife. We also looked at a 2012 F150 crew cab with eco boost engine. Any thoughts on that one. I'll be pulling a 27' International. We plan on doing some long haul trips cross country etc.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:09 PM   #2
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We own a landscape business and started driving diesels back in 2001. I would drive nothing else for our company trailers or our 31' Sovereign.
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Old 08-18-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by rosser7 View Post
I'm looking at buying a 2011 Ford F250 Lariat King Ranch 4X4 crew cab diesel. I know this is more than I need but it sure is comfortable. Any thoughts on pros and cons? I need to convince my wife. We also looked at a 2012 F150 crew cab with eco boost engine. Any thoughts on that one. I'll be pulling a 27' International. We plan on doing some long haul trips cross country etc.
Thanks
Hello,
With the f250 you will have more versatilty and you will need to choose your hitch carefully BECAUSE of harsher springing. The transmission on the f250 is better than the f150 and the brakes are bigger inmo. However,I now tow with 2010 f150 4x4 with K@N cold air intake system with Gibson cat back system and do not feel underpowered. Obviously ,does not have the torque of a diesel. Also added mich.E rated with super springs. Love this comb. with 5.4 eng.GVWR OF 7700 PDS.mAX TOW PKG. I'm towing a 2012 FC 25fb and averaged 11 to 11.5 miles per gal. thru NM,COL,UT.WY.ID.and OR. The mileage might not be as good you want with the diesel.Also,switched to a Andersen hitch from the equalizer and the ride improved immensely. Anyway,choosing the f2560 is probably the safest choice. Again,I don't travel with full tanks and always try to balance the load and stay within eng.paramenters. Be sure if you go with with the f150 you get the max tow pkg.and the max payload if you can find one.Good luck.
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Old 08-18-2012, 06:37 PM   #4
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We just got back from a 5600 mile trip West (Idaho, Glacier NP, Black Hills, Badlands). I coudn't be happer with our 2012 F150 FX2 EcoBoost (with the Max Tow package) and how it pulled our Flying Cloud 25FB.

One thing with the F150 though, is you will need to be careful with your Gross Rear Axle rating; after factoring in the trailer tongue weight, passengers, and such, you may not have much left over for cargo in the bed. You won't have that conern with a F250.
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Old 08-18-2012, 09:02 PM   #5
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If you don't need a F250 except for your Airstream, the F150 Ecoboost seems the sensible choice. The weight distribution hitch should mitigate some of the tongue and cargo weight concerns by distributing it among both truck axles as well as the trailer axles.

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Old 08-18-2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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Unless you get the max payload package, you will be hugging the gross rear axle rating on any 1/2 ton with a loaded truck and a loaded 25ft Airstream. Getting the max payload package will give you more flexibility while keeping the initial cost and operating cost to a minimum. I would opt for the f150. The big diesel is overkill.

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Old 08-18-2012, 09:39 PM   #7
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Both will work... my buddy tows a big SOB with a new Ecoboost - works great. Diesels are more of a proven solution though. Do you need the extra hassle of 4x4? Not very often useful for towing unless you are getting into some grassy or gravelly grades...

For easy, lazy towing, a diesel dually would be my pick...
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Old 08-18-2012, 11:57 PM   #8
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Diesels are produced to tow. If you buy gas, then you would have to include a tow package. This will likely shorten the life of your tranny and the motor and the resale value.
Loaded properly, your diesel tv will out perform any gas tv. Depending on how you drive, even with the higher cost of diesel fuel, if you drive at a constant 2000-2100 rpm your cost of fuel will be comparable to gas since diesels get better mileage loaded vs gas (the dirty little secret).
Biased toward my F350 diesel, yes, but it will tow anything I put behind it since the tow package is built in. Pick your hitch beyond what you will tow and transfer this to your coach to the specs and you will easily out perform any gas tv on any incline or decline or on a flat surface.
Depending on where you are located, the resale value of diesel vs gas is much higher no matter the mileage.
The 4x4 option in a diesel goes a lot further than a 4x in gas. If you ever need to pull something out, or your self and do it right the diesel has more power transfer to all four in a lower gear and will get you out if you do not over torque, spin your wheels... Most come with options of gear ratio.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:39 AM   #9
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What is the weight of your trailer? Is the tow vehicle going to be a daily driver too? I'm near you rosser, Sea Ranch, and gas is expensive in our area. I'd look at what you need and shop for what you're comfortable with.
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Old 08-19-2012, 07:58 AM   #10
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We tow with a 2011 F250 Lariat Diesel. Couldn't be happier. Very comfortable quiet and tows like a dream. The only drawback we found was a rather small fuel tank. 25 gals. Replaced that with a Transfer Flow 50 gal tank. Problem solved. We also replaced the Equalizer Hitch with an Anderson. Have fun in your search!
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Old 08-19-2012, 10:12 AM   #11
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rear axel options?

Thanks for your input. Any suggestions on the following rear axel options, on a 2011 F250 diesel crew cab 4x4? The one that comes with the truck I'm looking at is the 3.55

3.31 Axle Ratio Electronic Locking Rear Differential
3.55 Axle Ratio Electronic Locking Rear Differential
3.73 Axle Ratio Electronic Locking Rear Differential
4.30 Axle Ratio Electronic Locking Rear Differential
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Old 08-19-2012, 12:19 PM   #12
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I'm running the 3.55 and have pulled upwards of 15K with no difficulties at all. It pulls our Classic in 6th without any problem. Even here in the Rockies it will pull at the speed limit on most any climb.
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Old 08-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #13
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A diesel makes sense to me if I wanted to keep it for 300,000 miles. But I'd have to pay more for it and for maintenance than gas, so it takes a long time to equal out for diesel.

Diesel fuel usually costs more than gas fuel and the difference in fuel mileage also comes close to equalling out.

We tow a 25' without any problems with a 5.7 L gas engine and the 27' doesn't weigh much more. At 75,000 miles engine and transmission perform just like new. Rear gear ratio is 4.30. We have around 1,500 lbs. payload. This is a Tundra, but other full size pickups have big gas engines too. Another interesting option is the 4.7 L V8 Tundra with a supercharger—better mileage, sort of like the EcoBoost. Toyota doesn't promote this option, but it may be worth looking into.

The Ford EcoBoost thread: http://www.airforums.com/forums/f463...ost-74084.html

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Old 08-19-2012, 02:40 PM   #14
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In my opinion, the Ford 250 will do a fine job of pulling that trailer.
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Old 08-19-2012, 04:02 PM   #15
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At a minimum I'd get a F250, I know a lot of people will disagree with me and that is fine, but personally I don't drive anything less than a 1 ton. but then again I also don't tow with trucks that are not dualies.

I know that people tow with half tons all the time, I have also seen half ton's wrecked all to heck because they were overpowered by a trailer that the owner had been towing.

If you have something happen that is beyond your control, like say having some idiot change lanes into your trailer, the truck you are towing it with may very well mean the difference between you experiencing some discomfort and an elevated heart rate and having a terrible wreck.

My dualie will tow your trailer with out a weight distribution hitch, it is going to be rock solid and stable doing it. I learned about this when I was in high school driving my dads dualie, I had an idiot change lanes into the 25' equipment trailer I was towing, the result was the trailer began to fishtail violently but the truck's suspension was stiff enough that it stayed planted and even though it scared the snot out of me, I was able to stay stable long enough to grab the brake controller and stop the sway.

I had towed the same trailer with my 3/4 & 1/2 ton several times in hard wind, with the way the trailer got pushed around the road I shudder to think what would have happened had I been driving it that day.

That being said I have over a million miles driving experience in everything from a 1/4 ton jeep up to a 8 axle heavy haul semi weighing 120,000 lbs. You won't see me pulling anything more than a small single axle 16' trailer with a 1/2 ton because I do not feel it is safe.

My advice to you is buy the most truck you feel comfortable driving. The F-250 will probably do you just find and serve you proud, but remember the 1 ton is going to have just a little bit more stout suspension and possibly brakes too. I am unsure with ford, but I know in Chevrolet there is a difference.
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Old 08-19-2012, 06:32 PM   #16
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I had towed the same trailer with my 3/4 & 1/2 ton several times in hard wind, with the way the trailer got pushed around the road I shudder to think what would have happened had I been driving it that day.
I've towed our trailer with 40 mph crosswinds on a very slick, snow covered I-70 without any sway. We had an Equalizer hitch. At more than 3 tons, the 1/2 ton Tundra is rock solid also.

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Old 08-20-2012, 03:21 AM   #17
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I've towed our trailer with 40 mph crosswinds on a very slick, snow covered I-70 without any sway. We had an Equalizer hitch. At more than 3 tons, the 1/2 ton Tundra is rock solid also.

Gene
Gene, I have no doubt that people do it all the time, many with out wrecking.

Personally having made my living since I was 15 years old with the exception of the 4 years I was in the Navy has been in businesses where trailers were used. I have towed over 800,000 miles.

To me towing with a half ton is playing Russian Roulette.

There are things people do not think about such as what if you are coming off a grade and your trailer brakes fail? I really don't want to be in that situation period. But I really don't want to be in it in a half ton.

I had that happen to me when I was in high school too, I was working for my dad, driving his 83 Chevy K30 dually crew cab, towing a 32' Goose Neck with a bobcat and several attachments on it. I lost the brakes coming down a steep mountain grade on a gravel road going to a job site. I was able to use the truck to keep the whole works under control.

I do understand this is an extreme situation, but I'd frequently tow that trailer with my 71 K20, In fact most people thought the trailer was mine because my truck was the same color brown as the trailer. If I had been driving my truck that morning instead of dad's dualie, I might not be here today. This is because I have no doubt that I'd have had a catastrophic wreck.

Granted that trailer was about 12,000 lbs that morning, but still, it was within the capacity of what my truck "could" pull. In fact the day before I used my truck to bring that trailer 300 miles back to town from another job site. That morning had I not had a flat tire on my truck, I would have been driving it, and I would have been in a world of hurt.

On another note, with an equalizer hitch, it does give you sway control, it does put weight up on your front wheels. Setup properly that hitch will help you tackle a big payload like that.

I personally do not like towing with them, I have, but it is more of a process getting hooked up, and thus more things capable of going wrong. I know more than a few folks have been on a the receiving end of a wild ride when one of the bars on their equalizer hitch failed.

It really does boil down to opinions, but on that note, My duallie will pull your trailer with out the equalizer hitch and if you don't check your mirrors, you won't know you are towing a trailer.

Of course my tags are also for 26,000 lbs.

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Old 08-20-2012, 08:37 AM   #18
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I think it is possible to get over-the-road hauling business needs and recreational trailer needs confused.

The Airstream has a low profile design, fully independent suspension, aerodynamic shape, and low center-of-gravity. Ideally it's tow vehicle would have similar design features or it's wasted money. Might as well be doing fifth wheel, would look more appropriate as well.

And in most recreational trailer use the trailer is parked while the tow vehicle is used as a daily driver. On trips we use the tow vehicle to sight-see, get a loaf of bread, visit friends. The big truck not needed, and in fact pretty poor choice. Unless you have a business use or some other heavy hauling needs.

Just-in-case scenarios can be posed all day long but the truth is there is no real advantage to an over-sized truck in front of an Airstream. Drive what you want or need, but there are many choices for an Airstream travel trailer that are more suitable to recreational use, with no additional risk involved.

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Old 08-20-2012, 09:05 AM   #19
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On sort of a related note...we are contemplating an Excella 34. I used to be in the horse show biz and had an F350 dually, diesel/manual. I towed a 6 horse gooseneck, as well as a 35 fifth wheel Terry camper. Also used it to tow lots of boats etc around. Am I wrong in assuming that the dually, with a properly rated hitch can forgo the Hensley hitch, bars etc? I plan to get another F350, and I know it is overkill, but I never had a lick of trouble with the old one, and I pulled lots of stuff around. I have to buy a TV anyway...and I plan to put couple of small motorcycles in the box anyway.
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Old 08-20-2012, 10:25 AM   #20
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On sort of a related note...we are contemplating an Excella 34. I used to be in the horse show biz and had an F350 dually, diesel/manual. I towed a 6 horse gooseneck, as well as a 35 fifth wheel Terry camper. Also used it to tow lots of boats etc around. Am I wrong in assuming that the dually, with a properly rated hitch can forgo the Hensley hitch, bars etc? I plan to get another F350, and I know it is overkill, but I never had a lick of trouble with the old one, and I pulled lots of stuff around. I have to buy a TV anyway...and I plan to put couple of small motorcycles in the box anyway.
As long as your trailer is properly loaded with that truck you should be fine. The issue is not getting too much or too little tongue weight. Too much and your front tires will not have enough weight on them, too little tongue weight and the trailer will fish tail and try to lift the back axle of the truck.

When you hook up to your trailer and start towing you are going to know whether or not you need the equalizer hitch.

You can most likely get around needing that hitch by changing how your trailer is loaded out.

If it fish tails, it is too heavy in the back, if the steering is spongy and the back of the truck squats really hard, you are too heavy on the tongue.

Think of the trailer as a pendulum, the ball being a pivot. If your weight is towards the rear of the trailer the inertia of that pendulum is going to be great because the length of the lever is going to be very long.

Where as if the weight is towards the pivot the lever will be very short.

If you are spending the money on an F-350 dually already, save the 600 bucks you would spend on the equalizer hitch and instead I'd invest it in 16" wheels and a good set of Michelin tires. Granted that is going to cost more than 600.00

But that set of good tires will make the trailer more stable and steady going down the road.

Also if your torqflex axles are getting wore out, they can get spongy, replacing them if they are can also give the trailer better controlability.

Airstreams were built with some awesome technology, the torqflex axles, shocks on the suspension. The light weight design, that is why they are so amazing. If not all of that equipment is in proper working order however it can cause problems that would cause the "need" for a weight distribution hitch, when in all actuality it is just the age of the components to blame.

Like you I am fixing to buy a Excella 34 sometime next year. I am hoping when I do to have the funds to also buy a brand new set of the torqflex air ride axles to go with it, with disc brakes and an Electric over hydraulic actuator for those brakes.

Each axle will be on its own air circuit, and each axle will have its own adjustable leveling valve.

Along with the air ride 4 link I am putting on my truck, I think this is going to be a smooth sailing setup.

Also once my 454 bites the dust I am going to stuff a P-pumped 24 valve between the fenders with an Allison 1000, and I am also considering setting the truck on a 3500HD chasis which will give the truck along a 26,000 GVWR (the same as an F-450) and it will then run 19.5's But that is a pile of money, and overkill for what I am doing right now.

But you know what they say, there is no kill like over kill!

My main reason for wanting the 3500 HD chasis is simply because I have owned 3 of them and they have been great trucks. the 94 I had especially, with over half a million miles on it I was still running around towing cars and working it very hard. It is still out there somewhere today still making a guy a living.
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